The Hidden Beauty

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,

 

the moon and stars that you set in place—

 

What is man that you are mindful of him,

 

and a son of man that you care for him?

 

Yet you have made him little less than a god,

 

crowned him with glory and honor.

 

You have given him rule over the works of your hands,

 

put all things at his feet:

 

All sheep and oxen,

 

even the beasts of the field,

 

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,

 

and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

 

O LORD, our Lord,

 

how awesome is your name through all the earth!

 

Psalm 8:4-10

 

               This last Friday I had the blessing to visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA where I saw both the beauty of the Shrine itself and the beauty of the surrounding nature. The shrine is nestled on Eden Hill located in the middle of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, and all the leaves were in the process of changing color. Everywhere you looked you saw green, orange, yellow, and brown all mixed together as the season of Fall settles in the area. It was magnificent, and I spent around an hour that afternoon simply watching the sun set below the surrounding hills. But, a strange thought occurred to me as I looked upon the majestic vista in front of my eyes. I realized that I was standing in awe of such beauty when I was passing over a beauty that lies hidden in front of me every single day of my life. Within every human eye, we see the beauty of the soul which far surpasses every other creation save that of the angels and saints who are perfectly united with God. It is a beauty given to us by God Himself, and the beauty is God Himself dwelling within us.

 

                   I am often not mindful of this Truth, and even when I am writing this very reflection I have a tough time seeing the Beauty of God within each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Within all of us, sin clouds this Beauty and makes it difficult for us to witness it, but no matter how sinful a person may be, the Beauty is still present there. But, sin is not the only thing that makes it difficult to witness the human soul. It is quite hard to look a person in the eyes for a prolonged period of time because when we look into a person’s eyes, we see the whole person and see a mystery that we can never understand no matter how many “facts” we know about the person in front of us. And when we look into their eyes, we see something that is so familiar to us because the same Beauty exists within us as well, whether we would like to recognize it or not. You could go anywhere in the world to see beautiful things, but all these beautiful things will point to the One who is present to us and within us at all times even if we completely reject Him. The Eucharist uncovers this Truth in our hearts and allows us to live ever more deeply into this Truth that we are Christ’s Beloved and are one with Him in His Mystical Body. May we receive the grace to recognize this Beauty of God’s Image and Likeness within us and let it become a reality through reception and adoration of the Eucharist. Amen.

 

Jamis Labadie

This 25th day of October - Year of St. Joseph 2021

Feast of St. Crispin

Stockbridge 1

Stockbridge 2

Two pictures from the nature surrounding the Shrine. It is difficult to capture the beauty of what I saw last Friday, but I hope these pictures help you to begin to see the beauty I was gazing upon at the Shrine.

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